Sponsor spotlight: Preventive Medicine for Women of All Ages

dr. Rachel Pontemayor

dr. Rachel Pontemayor’s childhood experiences with family, community and healthcare led her to choose a career in medicine. “I grew up in Guam, an island community and American territory in the Pacific Ocean. I was a sick child and always went to the doctor. So I saw firsthand how helpful doctors were to my family – what a difference they made to a community,” she says.

dr. Pontemayor sees patients at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) Lynnwood. As a general practitioner she can get to know the whole family, in different phases of life. “I enjoy seeing pediatric patients – I can connect with families and help build healthy habits!”

She also helps young patients prepare for adulthood. “Once a child is 10 or 12, depending on maturity or developmental age – or the reason for their visit – I usually connect with the parents by having a minute or two without Mom or Dad during the visit. I think it’s important to help children foster their independence with a doctor, to learn to take ownership of their health.” dr. However, Pontemayor always lets the child know that she will share their conversations with the parents. “It’s important for a young person to be medically literate before they leave home and have to make health decisions as an adult,” she adds.

Parents take teenage daughters to their primary care physician for a variety of needs, such as irregular periods, heavy periods, or increased acne. “During adolescence, it’s also very important to screen for mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, and to provide the right resources for the family,” says Dr. Pontemayor.

“Older women often come to me with problems such as increased urination, vaginal dryness and menopausal symptoms. I have options for them to consider, and can refer to specialists if necessary,” says Dr. Pontemayor. “It is a pleasure to care for a woman in all stages of life.”

dr. Pontemayor is taking on new patients. “I like the team-based approach to care at PacMed,” she says. “The specialists are phenomenal. We maintain close contact, which is so important for continuity of care.”

dr. Pontemayor is taking on new patients.

Here are five areas that Dr. Pontemayor encourages women to think about their preventive care, at all stages, from childhood to adulthood:

HPV vaccine – prevents cancers of the mouth, throat and male/female genitals from ever developing by preventing the infections that these cancers cause. “It’s the only vaccine we have that prevents cancer, which is pretty amazing! I always talk to parents to help them understand this important vaccine.” Two shots for boys and girls ages 11-15; or for children aged 15-45, a three-shot series.
Pap smear – helps catch cervical cancer early. “Pap smears are not painful, but slightly uncomfortable. Women can feel vulnerable during this vaginal screening, so I pay extra attention to explaining what to expect during the exam,” she says. Every 3 years for 21-29 years and every 5 years for 30-65 years.
Well-wife check-ups – a regular examination including diet, exercise, age screening (mammograms, osteoporosis, pelvic examination if necessary) and vaccinations.
birth control – such as IUDs, depo shot and others. She refers to a gynaecologist for fitting the diaphragm or cervical cap. And although Dr. Pontemayor does not provide maternity care, it does provide prenatal counseling and can continue to provide primary care during and after a patient’s pregnancy.
Diet – because a balanced diet can help women achieve their goals and reduce their risk of certain medical problems. “It’s important to discuss your diet with your primary care physician,” Dr. Pontemayor says. “At PacMed, we can refer you to one of our dieticians for diabetes, high blood pressure or other complaints.”

As a general practitioner, Dr. Pontemayor get to know the whole family, at different stages of life.

dr. Pontemayor is a family physician at the PacMed Lynnwood Clinic. For more information about Dr. Pontemayor to www.PacMed.org. To make an appointment, call 1.888.472.2633 or simply schedule online at www.PacMed.org/schedule.

(Sponsored by Pacific Medical Center)

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